AARP Roadside Assistance offers two straightforward breakdown rescue packages at really attractive rates. But before everyone gets excited, the main thing to bear in mind is that these special plans - which are actually provided by Allstate, our top choice overall among the best roadside assistance services - is that you need to be a member of AARP, and therefore at least 50 years old, to be eligible for them.
AARP Roadside Assistance review: Plan options and cost
First up, as already mentioned, you need an AARP membership, which will cost you $12 for the first year if you sign up for auto renewal - alternatively, you can pay $16 and then decide if you wish to continue in 12 months' time. On a wider basis, this will provide access to various benefits and discounts on healthcare products, auto insurance, homeowners insurance and much more, including, of course, roadside assistance.
Application process: AARP Membership compulsory
Packages and costs: Assist: $62 first year, renewal $80; Elite: $119 first year, renewal $133
24/7 recovery: Yes
An app for that: Yes. iOS and Android
As you might expect, how much you're willing to pay plays a big part in exactly what AARP will cover in terms of breakdown rescue. Roadside Assist is the most affordable option, coming in at $62 for the first year for up to two drivers - that's 10% lower than the usual price of $69. For that, you can be rescued up to three times a year, and is a good option if you don't travel far, in providing local tow benefits of up to 10 miles. Perhaps unsurprisingly, trip interruption isn't included at this price.
The other option is Roadside Elite, which costs $119 (a discount of 20% off the normal price) but allows for up to 7 rescues annually and a 100 mile towing coverage - $1,500 trip interruption benefit is included too. One thing worth looking out for, however, are the renewal prices, with the Assist plan rising to $80 a year, and Elite going up to $133, so you may wish to re evaluate your options at that point - National General is our specific choice for value for money overall.
AARP Roadside Assistance review: The fine print
While the compulsory AARP membership may give you pause for thought, the pricing of the rescue plans is hugely competitive, particularly given what is covered. On both packages, you get nationwide towing, flat tire changes, gas for empty tanks, lockout services, and dead battery jumps. And once signed up, you're covered in any car that you're either driving or are a passenger in, including cars that you rent or borrow.
You can also add a second household member at no additional charge, and 16-18 year-olds are covered by the policies for free as well, even if they are not AARP members (which the youngsters obviously won't be!).
As already mentioned, the Assist package isn’t as extensive as Elite – you don’t get trip interruption guarantees, there's fewer rescues, and less extensive towing coverage (check out Good Sam if you want the best towing options). Also note that if you run out of gas, the delivery of fuel (up to 2 gallons) is free under the Elite plan, but will be at your expense under Roadside Assist.
AARP: Customer reviews and support
If you're interested in AARP’s plans, you can find the basic details on its website, but will quickly end up on the Allstate website for all the finer details and signing up. This is no bad thing, with all the information you need to know about easy to find, and a handy side-by-side comparison of the plan options immediately presented to you. If you wish to proceed, the online application process is quick and easy, while there's a number to call if you want a friendly voice to help out at any point.
When it comes to customer reviews, the review pool on Consumer Affairs is relatively small but delivers a more than satisfactory 3.5 out of 5 stars. Complaints usually relate to long waits for help, but there is praise for a "great, fast service and the best price for what you get".
Should you choose AARP Roadside Assistance?
AARP, and it's tie up with Allstate, delivers two great roadside assistance packages and plenty of benefits for members. Yes, your age is important if you wish to sign up, but with attractive discounts and the simplicity of the plans on offer, even those who don't like the idea of hitting 50 will be happy that AARP Roadside Rescue is now an option.